Here are 7 tips to hiring a landscape Architect/Designer/Contractor.
1.) Licensed, bonded & insured!
First and foremost it is essential to ask your potential landscape contractors if they are licensed bonded and fully insured. The Landscape installation process often involves heavy machinery making it essential that your professional carries adequate bonds & insurance. In the rare case that an issue does arise both you and your landscape professional can rest easy knowing that any issue can be addressed and solved in a timely manner
2.) Number of Years in the business.
A great indicator of a solid and trustworthy landscape contractor is how many years they
have in the industry. Experience is typically synonymous with efficiency & proficiency. What this typically means for the homeowner is that you are hiring a professional that has a high degree of competence and skill in a particular industry equipping them with the skills to manage your project from design to completion with ease. Contractors that have passed the test of time have generally done so by constantly implementing new processes that allow them to complete projects with a high level of efficiency. As a homeowner, you always want to know that your landscape professional is using the best and most cost-effective solutions in completing your project. Hiring a landscape professional especially with local experience will go miles when you start to submit drawings to the city and board (These local authorities can often be arduous when it comes time to review your plan making it essential for you to have professional guidance.
3.) Recent projects
Looking at a company’s recent projects is a great tool to use when narrowing down your landscape contractor search. By panning through these potential contractors projects you will get a good idea of their quality of work and general architectural environments they work in. Say you are looking to build a “West Indies” style home on the water in Port Royal, Naples.
It is important to know that your potential contractor has experience designing and installing landscapes and hardscapes that compliment this architectural style as well as the knowledge to design and implement a plant itinerary that will thrive in a coastal environment.
4.) Budget & time frame
Make sure your potential landscape contractor/designer understands your budgets and timeframes and is more than confident that they will be able to stay within your parameters.
Speaking of budgets, It is very important even before the landscape design process begins that you as the homeowner have a budget in mind. Having a budget gives the landscape architect/designer parameters to design in. Too often in the industry landscape architects design ornate landscape plans without an accurate or any estimate on the finished products cost. An experienced and well-trained landscape architect/designer will keep these things in mind throughout the design process.
Once you have your plans completed you will be going to a landscape contractor to install your landscape as outlined on the landscape plans. It is very important that the homeowner again have a conversation regarding the cost and time frame before any construction commences.
5.) References & Reviews!
Asking a potential landscape contractor for references is a great way to acquire more information on a company. Before calling the references it is a good idea to have a list of questions ready. Some great questions to ask include; How was your overall experience with_____? Did the Project stay on budget and timeframe? Will you be calling _____ for your next landscape project?
Reviews can also be a great inside look at a company. Avoid only looking at reviews on the company’s websites and try to find reviews on third party websites such as HOUZZ.com or Google Business. This will give you a more accurate look at the company than looking at reviews on their personal website.
When looking for a landscape contractor it is important to choose a firm that stands behind its product and design. With that said, it is important to hire a firm that carries some sort of warranty with regard to their installation and finished product. Hiring a professional that warranties their finished product is typically an accurate indicator for quality workmanship. Contractors hate doing things twice, ensuring that it is done right the first time around.
7.) Time, Trust and Personality.
Most importantly, you want to hire someone that is going to take the time to get to know you, your space and all your wants and desires. Sitting down with a good architect/designer/contractor feels a lot like sitting down with a therapist that is helping you bring all your thoughts out of the clouds and into the light. It is important that you trust and enjoy your architect/designer/contractor because they will be acting as your guide through this exciting but often lengthy process.